Boston: 109.1 points/100 possessions (10th)
New Jersey: 97.3 points/100 possessions (30th)
Boston: 101.6 points allowed/100 possessions (3rd)
New Jersey: 109.6 points allowed/100 possessions (23rd)
Probable New Jersey Starters:
Brook Lopez, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Yi Jianlian (without chair), Courtney Lee, Devin Harris/Keyon Dooling*
Harris sat out Sunday’s game with a wrist injury and is listed as questionable for tonight.
WHAT THE NETS ARE GOOD AT:
• No longer having Vince Carter
• Losing large numbers of games consecutively
• Complaining about girls on Twitter
• Forcing turnovers. Kinda. They rank 11th in the league in terms of forcing turnovers on defense, which means they are slightly above average, which in the world of the 2010 New Jersey Nets is like winning the Super Bowl while sleeping with Mila Kunis and sipping a rich lager. Still, if there’s one way for an inferior team to hang with Boston, it’s by pressuring the turnover-prone C’s into a ton of turnovers.
• Taking care of the ball. Only 17 teams cough it up less often than the Nets. Wait, what? There are only 30 teams in the league? Making 17th a below average ranking? Oh.
WHAT THE NETS ARE BAD AT:
• Accessibility via public transportation
• Having a fox called Sly Fox as a mascot for some reason
• Offense. All of it. I mean, the Nets are bad at everything, but they’re really bad at offense. Specifically shooting. From everywhere on the court. Three-pointers? Dead last at 28 percent, even though only two teams have taken fewer than the Nets pathetic 486 threes (about 14 per game). Shots directly in front of the rim? They rank 29th, making only 55.3 percent, according to Hoopdata.com. The C’s, by comparison, top the league with a 65.7 percent hit rate on shots at the rim.
Ok, so they can’t shoot the closest shots or those furthest from the rim. They’ve got to be good from other distances right? What about the mid-range game? Yikes. They’re 27th in shooting percentage on shots between the rim and 10 feet out (about 39 percent) and 25th on shots from between 10 and 15 feet (about 36 percent). (All info from Hoopdata).
Ok, Ok. So the mid-range/floater game is out. That just leaves long two-point jumpers. They are the worst shots, sure, but every team has to be good at something, right? Oh, they’re dead last there, too.
Man, is that depressing. But this is what happens when your best player (Devin Harris, who may no longer actually be their best player) misses around 10 games, shoots 38 percent from the floor and is still learning how to play point guard and use ball screens.
• Defensive Rebounding. Only two teams rebound a lower percentage of opponent misses. You know what? I’m stopping.
PLAYER/S WHO MAKE ME WORRY:
• Yi’s chair. Rumor has it the chair has developed a consistent corner three.
• Brook Lopez. A really nice sophomore season from Lopez, even if people are worried that he’s drifting too far from the hoop on offense. The guy is putting up a 19-9, and you could argue he deserves an All-Star birth. He has supposedly surpassed Harris and become the only untouchable on the Nyets. He has the sort of Bogut-like combination of a reliable mid-range shot and a nifty post-game that has given Perk trouble, though Lopez is not quite as mobile as Bogut.
• Jarvis Hayes. I am not really worried about Jarvis Hayes. But dude can hit a corner three if you fall asleep on him.
PLAYER/S WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY:
• Courtney Lee. I guess this is what happens when you go from being the 7th-best player on a championship-caliber team to being something of a go-to player on a bad one. Lee has really struggled in New Jersey after thriving in a limited role in Orlando. His shooting his fallen off a cliff (from 45 percent overall last year to 39 percent this season, with a steeper drop from 40 percent to 27 percent on threes), but the good news is that his non-shooting stats have all improved. I still believe he can be a solid rotation player.
• Terrence Williams. A typical rookie season for Williams, with a promising start and regular 20-plus minute outings giving way to some “attitude” issues, a Twitter meltdown, a DNP-CD or two and a precipitous minutes decline.
• WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM THE C’s TONIGHT:
• Clean up the turnovers. In the last seven games, the team has outings in which they’ve committed 25, 24, 17 and 16 turnovers. These games with New Jersey over the last two years have (occasionally) been much closer than they should be. One way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to not give the team points and cough away scoring opportunities.
• Perk on Lopez. Perk once again gets to test himself against a big man with a nice touch and a versatile game. Let’s hope for good results.
• The bench. I think we all agree that Tom Thibodeau overplayed Perk, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rondo in his half coaching the team against the Hawks on Monday night; all four played at least 42 minutes, and Thibs didn’t make a substitution for the last 18-plus minutes of the game. Guys are playing a ton of minutes, and while injuries have necessitated the jump, the minutes are still piling up too high, considering this is the regular season in January. The Nets feature a lot of guys that one might call bench-caliber. This is a nice opportunity to play the C’s bench-caliber guys.
• Rondo v. Harris. Roadrunner v. Roadrunner. Some team official somewhere in either Boston or Jersey reportedly discussed a trade involving these two guys during the off-season, and boy am I glad nothing ever came of those talks. This is another chance for Rajon to show he’s the best PG in the East.
A classic closer-than-it-should be win: Boston 105, Nets 99